The use of antibacterial soaps during the 20th and 21st centuries has spurred a debate within the healthy living community, mostly centered around their safety and effectiveness. The germ-killing chemicals that are found in these products may be doing more harm than good for consumers, according to a statement released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Are the risks outweighing benefits?
The FDA believes two of the main chemicals in these products, triclosan and triclocarban, may be connected to hormone imbalances and antibiotic resistance. These two substances are commonly found in hand soaps and body washes, products that American consumers commonly use. Many shoppers may feel secure in picking up a bottle of soap that reads "antibacterial," but in fact, regular all-natural soaps may get the job done just as well without the harsh chemicals.
"New data suggest that the risks associated with long-term, daily use of antibacterial soaps may outweigh the benefits," Colleen Rogers, Ph.D., a prominent microbiologist at the FDA, said in a statement.
Because science is showing that antibacterial soaps may be posing harm to customers, the FDA issued a proposal to manufacturers on Dec. 13 that would mandate companies to show the safety and effectiveness of their antibacterial soaps. These products only include those used with water, so hand sanitizers, hand wipes or antibacterial products used in hospital settings are excused from this regulation.
Several companies weigh in
According to the FDA, triclosan is also used as a pesticide, and is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. These two governmental agencies are now pooling their research to see the effects of this chemical on human health.
In response to public outcry over the use of triclosan in cleansing products, some companies like Johnson & Johnson have begun phasing out these chemicals in their products, according to Bloomberg. Triclosan has been linked to adverse reproductive problems and is also known to harm the environment.
The benefits of all-natural cleansers
Like any other microorganism on earth, germs and bacteria evolve and "outsmart" antiseptics and antibacterial substances. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has even created an Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance to work with other governmental programs like the FDA and the National Institutes of Health so that officials can deal with this growing problem.
According to the Global Healing Center, washing your skin with harsh chemicals doesn't just dry your skin out. It can have a serious effect on your overall wellbeing. Just like you wouldn't eat unnatural substances as part of healthy weight loss nutrition, using toxins on your skin can also create an imbalance in your system.
As an added bonus, naturally-made soaps and cleansers are generally not tested on animals, are easier on your skin - leaving you feeling clean but not dry, and is much better for the environment because they come from natural resources. Everything from dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, shampoo, hand washes and skin care products can be made with all-natural ingredients, can keep your family safe and won't cause any adverse side effects that the FDA is currently reviewing.
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